Archives for posts with tag: alcoholism


In the Spring, my mother-in-law gave me a beautiful mandevilla plant. It’s been growing beautifully and is filling up the trellis behind it. But one day, I noticed that a vine had reached the top of the trellis. And there was nothing close for it to cling to. Day after day, it grew in the same direction…seemingly reaching for something to cling to. It grew and grew and was just floating in the air, apparently searching for a landing spot.


So, me and my rescuing self decided that I’d go ahead and help that little plant find a support, something to cling to. I gently took the tender shoot and led it back to the trellis. I thought it was no big deal and that the vine would go on growing, and twist and twirl itself around the trellis.  I was wrong.

Within a few days, the shoot was turning brown, and soon, part of the vine fell off all together.  Where was the point of decay?  Seemed to be right where me and my well-meaning self moved that vine. I was pretty shocked because when I had moved it, it was done slowly and easily and seemed to place no stress whatsoever on the plant. But obviously it had. It wasn’t ready to cling. Not to what I had chosen. And me choosing what and where to cling to for that plant wasn’t helpful. It was damaging. It was forced…and the mandevilla plant would have no part of that. Instead of helping, I hurt it.

(Case in point. See the healthy shoot on the left?  It’s doing just fine without me. And the one on the right..far right kind of whitish looking shoot…it’s still recovering from my ‘helping’.)

So here’s the thing. We’re made to cling. We are. Like mandevilla vines searching for a trellis, we are made with hearts and minds and bodies that yearn for connection. And sometimes the people, ideas, or things we cling to make us stronger, wiser, and more productive. And sometimes the people, ideas, or things we cling to make us weaker, stupid-er,  and ill-equipped. And we, the cling-ers get to choose. But you don’t get to choose what another person clings to. Nope. They’ve gotta choose that for themselves.

As a mom, as a wife, as a friend, there have been so many times when I thought I knew what (or Who) might be best for my loved one to cling to. And no matter how well-intentioned my thoughts or desires were, interventions that force issues could be more damaging than helpful. ( Note: I so know interventions can help lay things on the table, and persuade, and bring things to light, but bottom line, a cling-er chooses what it clings or does not cling to.)    Kind of like with my mandevilla.

Like a mandevilla vine that is not yet ready to cling, sometimes folks need time on their own to decide when and to what to cling to. We can know something is so good and right and true and ‘gently bend’ their little shoots of a son or friend or husband toward the trellis of truth. But if that plant isn’t ready, it won’t cling. Might have to be floating in clouds of in between for awhile.  So often, well-meaning folks can ‘arrange’ (force) connections that aren’t healthy. Seems to me that timing is important.  It also seems to me that willingness is important.

So now, lesson learned, with regards to the mandevilla at least! There are three shoots flying in the wind above the trellis, and I’m not intervening. The mandevilla is on its own. I’m pretty sure it’ll find its way. And I’m believing that for some of those in my life as well. Gonna pray, encourage, and ensure some supports are available….and then wait. Am often amazed at how well things work out when I pray and get out of the way.  With mandevilla plants, and with people.


Am believing there’s a Sovereign Hand of grace that knows a bit more and has more power than I do. For me. For you. For those we love.


Blessings ~



“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word…”

Psalm 119:25


I’ve been making bird feeders again.  “For today” feeders is what I like to call them.  And here’s why…  In the past year, the phrase “for today” has become one of my favorite, favorite phrases. I’ve always appreciated the saying of “One Day At a Time. This quickly became, “one moment at a time” when I was a young mom to more little ones than my arms could hold.  (Our third son was born when our oldest was 2…and by the time our oldest was 8 years old, well, he had 5 younger siblings…no twins…just a little visual for ya to see the necessity of the MOMENT thing.) There were so many needs for the moment. I needed grace for the minutes.  I loved the phrase, “grace for the moment” and repeated that to my heart too many times to count. And there was, grace, that is…and miracle of miracles, we survived and even had our sweet familial blips of total thriving. Thankful for all of it.

So that was then. Fast forward 20 some years and I still so hold on to the grace for the moment phrase and truth. But in the past year ‘for today’ has had deeper meaning for me. A year ago this month, my family had the privilege of four of us spending a week together at a center in Georgia.  Willingway works with those with alcohol and drug addictions.  I am the wife and mom of two people I adore who struggle in this area. Big struggle.  Big consequences. Big fears. Big losses.  I could lose a lifetime worrying, wringing my hands, planning for things that never even occur. Or bemoaning and becoming bitter over things that have.  But it’s a battle in which the victories and the losses come by the choices in the now,  the momentary choices  today. That’s something that I’m learning…and a little visual helped it sink it further.

In one of  our morning sessions at Willingway, a woman named Hope led our family group.  She reminded me so much of what my 22 year old Hope might be in 20 years. Both Hopes are unashamedly feisty, determined, compassionate, beautiful, and bold.  Hope, the counselor, gave a great little picture that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.  She was talking about the need to live in the now. (For the full effect of this, I ask that you do try to visualize it, as it adds a dimension to the story, ha!) She stood up, and said this:  ” If we keep one foot in the past, worrying over regrets of what we did or didn’t do…” (and with this, she stepped her left foot to the far left…), “and then, add to that, that we worry about all the the things in the future that could or couldn’t happen tomorrow, next week, or in the years to come…” (and with that, she slid her right foot to the  far right and squatted a bit…), “then ALL we do is crap* all over today.”

Yep.  But she didn’t say “crap”.  And we laughed…and I teared up through my laughter because I so got it. I literally could’ve cried buckets at that moment because the realization of what she was saying was like a lightbulb to my heart. Yes.  We can lose today so easily. Especially when loved ones are struggling. Especially when we are struggling. I mean, we’d have to be crazy not to be consumed with worry over what has been or what will be, right…? Not necessarily… Because worry just makes things worse.  We so miss the moments in the now when we’ve got one foot in the past or one foot in the future…or both. Worry of what was or what will be eats up, consumes, the now. Life can get pretty full when we’re doing well, but when we add the chaos that addictions and wrong thinking to the whole mix (along with the dominoes that follow..), well, moments, days, weeks, years…can be eaten up in fear, worry, and a focus on loss…


So, when I came home from the week in Georgia, I thought a lot about what Hope has said and so aptly demonstrated. I prayed and thanked God for today so many times. I thanked him for the big and the little and the hard and the good and the in between and tried to trust for today, for the moment.  It was Spring time and the birds were flitting and flying around..and added a whole new dimension to the lesson I so needed to live. I remembered what Jesus said about provision…and to consider… consider the birds of the air…  Consider…look at, think on. The verse says, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”  Matthew 6:26.

I thought about daily need, daily seed, provision for today. Even in the midst of a lot of struggles through the years, I’ve seen God’s hand of provision more times than I can count… I’m so aware that He can open doors that we never even knew were there. He can provide in ways we never imagined, and He can bring people into our lives at just the right time who we’ve never even met.  So…that’s when I started making bird feeders…not that have seed for a week or a month or a season, but food for today.   At night or in the morning, out goes a handful of seed…


and then…they come…

the quiet and serene…


…the sassy…



they come two by two..

…and they come in all kinds of weather….

and when they come, they remind me that for today, I have what I need. For today, I can do what I need to do one step at a time. For today, I am thankful. I love how Jesus spoke to worry and said (still in Matthew 6) and said, “Let today’s own troubles be sufficient for today.” Yeah, there’s usually plenty to handle for today. And the great thing is, that it sure is a lot easier to handle when I’m not trying to conquer the past and the future at the same time.

Yeah, I can learn a thing or two from birds. And I am …learning that is. (Side note) As I’m writing this, the two mourning doves are on the deck, one in the feeder, and one underneath. They really seem to have this “for today thing down…always together, never in too big of a hurry, (unless I get up to take a photo of them, then they’ll fly and coo in a heartbeat!)  And I’ll spare them. But here’s a photo of them taken this morning.   Yeah, they seem to have the for today thing down. DSCN2976.jpg

Maybe one day, I will as well. But I’m not going to worry about that, right?  Because for today, for today, …there’s provision and grace for today.



(“For Today” feeders can be purchased at Gifted:Local Artisan Gift Shop and Supply or can be ordered via pm on Facebook )  I love doing special orders with a theme. Am happy to mail them as well.

Blessings for today ~


P.S. Gotta share a favorite song here…Live It Well <3.

“Live It Well” by Switchfoot

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6: 25-34


So, my son’s birthday was yesterday.  He had a few specific things that he wanted:  a red-tailed catfish for his aquarium, and possibly a Lowe’s gift card for some tools, wood, etc for his projects.  We decided to celebrate a day early because our youngest son was going out of town for a retreat and wanted to be there to celebrate his brother’s birthday.  So after work on Thursday, I rushed out to Lowe’s first to get the gift card.  That’s an easy present and was quick to check off the list.  So then, I was off to the pet store.

As I walked in the pet store, a woman about my age greeted me.  “Can I help you find anything?” she asked.  So of course, I say that I’m looking for a red-tailed catfish.  I was pretty relieved to not have to wander past all the aquariums in the huge space to find a little fish.  So, then the man behind the counter, who is about my age as well, says, “We just sold the last one.”

Pause.  What did he just say?  You mean the one thing that this son asks for is not here…and it was just sold.  Yikes.  But as the wheels in my head starting turning, I said, “Was it a tall man about my age who just bought the fish?”  Affirmative.  The man behind the counter said, “Yes, and he bought a gift card as well.”  Bingo. I laughed and said, I think that was probably my husband.  “Can you tell that we don’t communicate too well?”  The man and woman gave a knowing look and smiled.  The woman said, “You’re not the only ones.”  As I walked out the door I wondered if they were married as well.  My guess is: affirmative.

So I walked out of the store and called my husband…who turned out to be the tall man about my age who had just bought a red-tailed catfish and a gift card.  Turns out he had been to Lowe’s earlier in the day as well!  Oh, brother.  Nope, we are so not good communicators at all.  Never have been.  We are about as opposite as two people can be.  But do you know what we have in common?  Red-tailed catfish and Lowe’s gift cards.

When I called Buddy about the whole deal, we both laughed and I remembered a few things.  I remembered that we have a lot in common.  We love our kids, though often show it in much different ways.  He makes me so mad about some things and drives me crazy with big issues like money and little issues like the thermostat set on FREEZING.  He leaves a mess and laughs at things that I just don’t think are too funny.  But then again, he can make me laugh in a heartbeat because he has a great sense of humor. He’s made a lot of mistakes in his life and is a recovering alcoholic with a lot of regret.  But I see him trying to make up for lost time.  Perfectly?  No, not at all.  But the attempt is so there and so apparent.

As I drove home and thought about the red-tailed catfish, I was really thankful to be reminded to focus on the common ground in relationships rather than the differences.  Some differences are crucial.  For a single person, my advice would be so different as common ground on key issues such as faith and beliefs so matters. It so matters because the man or woman you marry will change and lead your world.  Be wise with choices. Take seriously to heart Paul’s words about being unequally yoked. But on this side of marriage?  I stood on sacred ground 25 years ago and said “I do.”  “I do” through ‘better or worse’, ‘richer or poorer’, ‘sickness and health’, ‘to love and to cherish till death do us part.’  I never in my wildest dreams (or nightmares) would’ve imagined some of the things we’ve gone through.  But there is still common ground.  There is still love.  There is still hope.  There are still red-tailed catfish to remind me that we care about so many of the same things.

I could write a book on the struggles in marriage.  And I have a feeling that I’m not alone on that one, for sure! But one of the long chapters in my little book would definitely be…common ground.  Be aware of the common ground and don’t lose sight of it in the midst of all of the struggles of daily life and the differences that can be so exaggerated with daily stressors.  So many marriages end because we forget.  We forget who our spouse is/was.  Sometimes we need to be the ones reminding them of who they are.  Or, we forget who we are…and then they can’t see us either.  My book would not be a “how to” for sure.  It would be a collection of stories of grace and hope and, here’s the key word…forgiveness.  Because in order to have common ground, there’s gotta be a willingness to stand on it and we all have things we need to forgive before we can stand together.

Anyway, the birthday celebration was a success.  The red-tailed catfish is doing just fine, and the son has gift cards to both Lowe’s and the pet store which are much more valuable had they been if his mother had been the one to buy them! I’m sure he’s glad that his Dad made it to the pet store before his mom!  He knows us both too, and given the values of the gift cards would know that the lesser one would’ve been from me and the more extravagant amount would’ve been from his Dad.  But in the end, he hopefully knows that we’d both run to the store and try to make his birthday more special.  Hopefully, all my kids know that we, these two incredibly different beings, love them with all our hearts.  And that is the common ground on which this family tries to stand.  The ground is so shaky at times, but bottom line, I hope they know we are for them. And when we struggle? May we have some red-tailed catfish scenarios to help us to remember and smile.

Oh, and one last thing.  I went downstairs this morning to find a mess in the kitchen…and…scrambled eggs on a plate for me on the counter.  They were covered in saran wrap and cooked just perfectly.  Buddy had called and said, “I made you breakfast” before he had left for work.  So it is.  Should I focus on the mess or the scrambled eggs? I’m choosing to focus on the scrambled eggs.  They were delicious by the way.  And the mess?  The dishwasher is running, the counters are clear and the mess is gone.  But being thankful that my husband made me breakfast?  Thankfully, that will linger a lot longer than the mess.

Blessings to You and Yours~


“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant  you to live in such harmony

with one another in accord with Jesus Christ.”

Romans 15:5

malik The triple threat of today consisted of the following combination:  Monday morning + first frost of the season + (here’s the clincher) 7:00 a.m. cafeteria duty. Oh, but that’s not all.  The fruit for the day was ………….oranges.  UNpeeled oranges with a cafeteria full of elementary age students who just aren’t that adept at peeling oranges. Oh, and add to that, a five year old student who is really having difficulty acclimating to staying in his seat and not running around the cafeteria at whim. I don’t think I rolled my eyes when I saw the oranges, but I did inwardly think, “Oh great…” I’m embarassed to say that the thought really did cross my mind that it makes absolutely no sense to serve unpeeled oranges to young children who have so not learned to peel them on their own. Yes, that’s what my 7:00 hour looked like.

But…sometimes blessings do indeed come in disguise.  Because inside of those oranges were …seeds- lots and lots and lots of seeds.  And the little guy whose behavior can be a big (huge) distraction to others and has difficulty sitting still in his seat and attending to tasks was totally focused on the mission  I had given him to put the seeds in one compartment of the tray.  The determination, the focus, the perseverance was quite a wonder to behold in the little one who is most often so easily distracted.   Soonafter he had finished his little mission, it was time to go to class and he was on his way.  Granted, he may have been a little sticky, but, he was happily on his way.

So, once again I see that what I may dread may indeed be a blessing in disguise.  I may see the outward stuff and the obstacle (like orange peels and kindergarteners), but never even take into account the unseen things (like the seeds hidden within the orange) and what those unseen things may bring to a situation that could spin it for the good.

I could expound on the blessings in disguise thing with some details going on in my life right now, because some of what has been going on in my family life would appear anything but a blessing. But, could it be, that there’s a side to these things that I don’t see?  Could it be that hidden within the things that appear to me as obstacles are hidden treasures which will assist in bringing about the very things I hope and pray for in the lives of my children and my husband?  Could it be that God has so allowed these things in our lives in order that He would draw us nearer, and use the circumstance to shape in ways that would polish us to be better reflections of His grace that is sufficient in the midst of the greatest weaknesses? I believe the answer is a resounding yes. Would I choose oranges on my cafeteria duty day?  Absolutely not. No. Never.  (Would I choose the very difficult times that are being endured in my family at this time?  Absolutely not. No. Never.) Did the oranges provide a blessing for me to see and enjoy and experience today as well as a little mini-lesson on blessings in disguise?  Absolutely.  Yes.  Totally.  (Do I see blessings and growth and faith coming in the midst of the difficulties being endured in my family?  Absolutely.  Yes. Totally.)

So, tomorrow morning, as I enter the cafeteria at 7 in the cold, dark, morning,  I wonder what fruit they’ll serve the elementary school children at breakfast? Would I choose oranges?  Still, a resounding no!  But if I do walk in and see a tray full of oranges, hopefully my response won’t be an inward rolling of the eyes, but an outward attempt to use what we have to be all there and enjoy the moment by moment sweet and sometimes sticky adventures that come in the ordinary stuff of life. But, hopefully, tomorrow, they’ll serve bananas, or sliced apples, or grapes.

Blessings~ Heather

” Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18


On Being Laid Bare



Peeling Back…


Laying Bare…

it’s fine for a birch tree…

but oh, so hard to see in

those we love.

But there’s a season for exposure

of the hidden things which eat from the inside out.

May we be people who embrace and love well

(which may involve covering, or may involve more painful exposure)

when those in our care are in the painful process

of dealing with things they need to let go.

 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Hebrews 4:13

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

I John 1:9

feet stuck in mud

I know he feels like he’s stuck.

And honestly, he is.

There are No apparent options, only consequences of his actions, his choices. And the walls feel like they are closing in on him. And the mire of his existence seems to be getting deeper, and thicker like mud that is slowly hardening to cement.
And then, he will be stuck forever. That is the fear that is fast becoming the reality.

I am on the outside looking in, crying out that there is hope. There is a way to become unstuck.

I throw him a lifeline, and he refuses it. When he finally reaches for it, those who are designated to help are swallowed up in rules. The bureaucracy of this world majors on minutiae and turns him away. THEY TURN HIM AWAY. This young man then drops the lifeline that he had, finally, after years of sinking, reached for.

I search for other modes of loosening the fast-hardening cement, but find no answers. I despair and feel stuck with him.

I cry out to the God of Psalm 40, the God who rescues from the pit. And I wait.

We are waiting. Stuck, not knowing whether to move to the left or the right, for like quicksand, the earth seems to swallow us up deeper with each wrong choice made. Fear of making a wrong move brings on a paralysis of body, mind, and spirit.

Psalm 40 is my only solace along with the unwavering belief that this is not the end of the story. That the God of Psalm 40 will somehow show up and show us a way through and out.

He is the lifter of my head. He is my comfort. He is the One who can Deliver from the depths of despair.

But I know that there are some steps that this 21 year old must make alone, for parts of this process are for a journey of one. And the liquid poison which he turns to for solace in his despair only intensifies his cloudiness of mind and drains him of his will and ability to fight.

Praying that this man whose name means “God is my salvation” will do as the Psalmist does in the beginning of the Psalm and cry out to God, and that God will not delay. And that as I painfully watch the process, I will know when to speak and when to be silent, when to act with swift resolution and when to be still. I refuse to believe that he will be stuck forever. I absolutely refuse. I refuse and I fill my heart with the Truth that has been passed down through the ages. It is a prayer that so many have cried out for deliverance to the God who will deliver. And now, they are free.

With every ounce of my being I will cry out and seek a way out, and remind him that he is worth fighting for. That he is not abandoned, and that he must dig deep to fight. Praying that he will find the will to fight and the hope to see that there is a way out, for his life indeed is a gift. It is an amazing gift worth fighting for. His life was an incredible gift to me, an incredible life-changing gift.

I am his mother.

So here’s the thing. Being stuck cannot be the end of the story. It just cannot. For he was made to live and breathe and contribute. And I will cry out on his behalf until I see him free and on Solid Ground. I will pray that he find the will to cry out and believe that one day, like the Psalmist, my son will say  with passion and conviction…

“1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
4 Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
5 Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.
8 I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips, Lord,
as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
from the great assembly.
11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased to save me, Lord;
come quickly, Lord, to help me.
14 May all who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The Lord is great!”
17 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
you are my God, do not delay.”

Psalm 40, New International Version

well lit woods

Daily Prompt: The Road Less Traveled

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.

The Road Less Traveled By for me, was a decision to stay in my marriage. Against all odds, against all well-meaning friends’ advice, against rationale and reason, I stayed. I knew that I was the one who would have to live with my decision. The intense part of the struggle was often that my children would have to live with my decision as well, for my husband is an alcoholic, and we could tell countless stories of the negative ways that that reality has impacted our day to day lives.

I have been married for over 23 years, and during that time have seen more than I care to say. So have my children. What drew me to my husband when we first met was his heart and passion. He never met a stranger, and had a zest for life that came through in his talent on the football field and in his relationships. But the extreme nature of his approach to life took a negative twist when he started working as an undercover narc in the 90s. Not good. It fed his addiction, it fueled his anger.

Fast forward 20 some years and if you were to look at my family, you would still see remnants of the devastation caused by alcoholism. But you would also see a family that truly appreciates the ‘little things’ in life. You would see siblings who truly care for each other, for they have been through so much that has forged their relationships because they know they need each other. You would see a Dad and husband who is now free from the chains of alcoholism who is living life as a giver and doing his best to be there for his family, both professionally in providing for their physical needs, but also emotionally in being there for them in a way that was absent for so many years. I think sometimes, the beauty in life comes from knowing our desperate need, and then being willing to receive grace. After all that we had been through over the years, I had very little pride and admit I have very few answers. But God sustains, and gives grace for the moment, and sometimes, that’s all I need to know.

I will never try to tell a person what road they are to take in this decision. This fork in the road is a big one, for the cost of staying with an alcoholic spouse contains sacrifices that are far-reaching. But I am one who has learned through the years to trust my gut and to pray through and act based on my own beliefs and understanding. There were periods of separation for my husband and I that were necessary and crucial, and I know that many relationships are so devastating that the only answer is to move forward by leaving the alcoholic behind. I knew that I would have to live with the decision, and as a believer in Christ, I so believed that there was hope, that God “makes all things new”, and that for me, trusting God meant staying with the man that I had committed to be faithful to on our wedding day so many years ago. I love and adore my husband and am so thankful for this new start we have in our lives.

Our story is not yet over, but I love looking at my kids and saying, “Who is this man?” when their Dad talks about God’s grace, or when he handles a situation with a smile which used to drive him to a much different response. My friends and I have prayed for years and years to see this happen, and now, we are seeing it! I sometimes shake my head and realize how little faith I had because I’m so shocked at the difference in my husband! (Oh me of little faith!) I am so thankful that I didn’t take the road more traveled by because I never would have known the joy and peace of being with the father of my children and seeing all of us move forward in our lives with freedom and a sense of purpose. He was trapped in his addictions by his own devices, but is now free from the alcoholism by the grace of God. We are moving forward on our road less traveled and I so hope that my children can take the lessons of knowing a life of freedom. I hope that they will be people who trust their gut and go forward with what they believe and think, for they are the ones who need to live with their decisions as I have had to live with mine. I hope that our family will be a picture of hope for those who are in hopeless situations. Bottom line, I hope they will be aware of and listen to the God who will direct their paths if they will but seek Him. He is the One who is with us wherever we go, whichever path we take, but He knows the way a bit better than we do. “I took the one less traveled by,  And that has made all the difference.”

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding,
Acknowledge him in all of your ways and He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5,6

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Moon shot taken by Aus

Daily Post ~ Tell us about another blogger who has influenced your own online journey

I read a blog today that brought up so much in me.  A woman was waiting.   Waiting to hear from her husband.  He’s a recovering alcoholic, and was currently “helping” a sponsor who was back to drinking. Immediately I wanted to tell her that I understood, and to somehow alleviate some of the weight she was feeling during her time of waiting.  I wanted her to know that she is not alone.  I recently started blogging and really wanted to compartmentalize those areas of my life that shed too much light on the struggles in our home.  But maybe, just maybe, sharing a bit can help someone get through their restless nights. So this woman, without knowing it, has encouraged me to have the courage to step out to blog on a bit of a deeper level.

Her circumstances may be different than mine, but as I read the words of her page, I instantly remembered so many nights of waiting. Lying on the front porch, looking up at the countless stars and wondering countless things about where my loved one was and what could be going on. If thoughts could be stars in my mind, the constellations drawn by thoughts bouncing one from another would have been a scribbled mess as my mind raced from one thing to another. There’s a restlessness that comes with waiting~ energy that has nowhere to be released.  Folding laundry and cleaning massively on late nights of waiting would only take a tiny bit of the edge off of all the internal energy racing through my mind on those nights.

But often after the chaos in my head would quiet down, there’d be a calm, a resolve, and an ache.  A deep ache.  It’s an awareness that I am in control of very little.  I can’t change the path of those I love any more than I can lasso a star.  I’ve read the books and heard the sermons about how we can help draw lines for others by the choices we make, but bottom line, we all make our own choices.  Our loved ones make their own choices in the same way that we do.  We can influence one another, yes.  But the beauty and the ache of it all is that we are born, we live, and we die as individuals with our own wills.  And our choices effect others.  And so, in life, there is a lot of waiting.

I’ve had many moments of waiting in my life.  For one, I have a husband who is an alcoholic.  I could tell a hundred stories, but they are all one and the same.  I have been the wife waiting on an alcoholic husband, planning his funeral again and again, and wondering what chaos he was creating for our lives.  I’ve been the mother waiting on a fever to break in my child. There have been nights of waiting for rebellious teenagers to come home.  Nights of waiting for my son to come out of a coma, aching and praying to see his eyes open and hoping with every core of my being that he would still be ‘in there’ when his eyes did open.    So many nights of  waiting for someone to find their way back home.  Not just the literal home, but the place where they belong.  I’ve been the friend waiting to hear from precious friends who were going through difficult times.  I’ve been the friend waiting to hear the prognosis of a friend with cancer.  I’ve been the teacher, waiting for a student to finally get it, and a parent in the principal’s office waiting to hear how my son just isn’t ‘getting it’. I’ve been the mom waiting to hear if a child’s plane has landed on the other side of the world, and the mom in the emergency room waiting to hear if my daughter’s xrays are clear after a major car accident.

Life is so full of waiting for all of us.  I’m sure each one of us could have a countless list of moments of waiting in our lives.  The following song was one that was written one night on my front porch.  I had a houseful of sleeping children at the time.  And a husband who was gone.  I couldn’t leave and do the futile trek of trying to find him.  It was probably a good thing because if I had found him, it would just turn up ugly anyway.  His alcoholism was so bad that he would park a car and drink alone. It had such a hold on him that he wouldn’t even know where he was.   I had taken those treks at times and found him, and let me tell you, nothing good comes of trying to reason with a man under the influence.  It would only increase my despair.   The night that this song was written, my heart would jump at every set of headlights going by.  I’d think it was him.  Then would come the fear because it wasn’t. (And there would have been fear if it had been as well…) There’s no resolution in the song, only a shared ache and a prayer for my husband to find his way home after years of self-destructive ways.

Near from Far

Every time a car goes by, I wonder , is it you.

Are we going to be alright, and what are you going through

Oh, you’ve brought yourself again to a place of despair

Oh, you’ve tasted of that sin, and it’s stains are everywhere

I wonder as the years go by, when  will you ever learn

I wonder in the same breath if I will ever learn

Am I watching, waiting, in a futile waste of time

Or will this vigilant prayer be answered and realized

I  pray you’ll let God wash your stains away

I pray you’ll hear Him and just humbly pray

I pray you’ll see  your sin for what it is

And He’ll bring you Near from Far

I pray the bondage will be broken through

That a redemptive grace will transform you

That the chains will break and you will see

That He’ll bring you  near from far

That you’ll be who you are and were meant to be

Home Free

Everytime a car goes by, I wonder, is it  you…

Anyway.  No resolutions or figuring it out.  Just a cry for a husband to be free of the chains that bind him that he didn’t even see.  And the chains and destructive patterns created chaos for our family and beyond. Remarkably so, he has been ‘free’ and sober for over a year now, and we are all so enjoying the little simple things in life that were once always so complicated and passed over by his addictions.

So, thanks to the ‘wife of an alcoholic’ who blogs and shares.  I want to be more bold in sharing.  Maybe that’s being more bold in caring, because I know it so helps me to hear another person’s story.

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